NICK vs. TOM
There are numerous types of people in this world. Apart from physical features, it is the characteristics of a person that makes him/her unique. Nick Carraway the narrator of The Great Gatsby has characteristics, which are the total opposite of those of Tom Buchanan, his cousin-in-law. In the novel, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, uses the comparison between two cousins to show how their differing characteristic reflects the themes of morality and reality versus illusion.
One of Nick s Characteristics, which is incompatible of more with Toms, is that Nick is careful when speaking. On an occasion when Mr. Gatz said something that Nick opposed with, Nick still undecidedly, agreed with him, as to not hurt an old man s feelings; as apparent by this quote: If he lived, he would have been a great man. A man like James J. Hill. He d of helped build up the country. That s true, I said, uncomfortably. (Pg. 176) Tom, who is at the other end of the spectrum, he s careless about what he says; he does not mind if he offends someone. At one point, he was rude when paying ten dollars to a dog retailer on the street. Is it a boy or a girl? she asked delicately, That dog. That dog s a boy. (Dog-retailer) It s a bitch, said Tom decisively. Here s your money. Go and buy ten more dogs with it.
(Pg. 32) This shows that Tom does not mind if he hurts the feelings of the person to whom he speaks with.
Nick s carefulness when speaking and Tom s Carelessness reveals a lot about their morality. It shows that Nick s morals are high he can not hurt an old man who had just lost his son; whereas Tom s morals are so low, that he hurts a poor stranger walking down the street, who is trying to make a living. The carefulness of speaking shows the theme of morality because it reflects respect for humanity. With the realization that the way one wants to be treated he or she treats the other person with the same respect. Nick s carefulness when saying something reveals the fact that he makes good judgments. Nick s reasonable judgments reflect reality, for he sees things as they really are. On the other hand, Tom s baseless judgments reflect the illusions in his world, for his judgments are what he only views to be right. Nick and Tom s ability to make judgments reveal how good of judgments they make in their relationships. Nick is honest in his relationships. Before going back to the mid-west, he went and talked to Jordan about their relationship. On the other hand, Tom is dishonest in relationships; not only was he cheating on his wife, but he also lied to his mistress. Nick s honestly shows the amount of respect he has for people whereas Tom s dishonesty in relationships, unveils his lack of respect for other people. Their differing characteristics reveal how each of them treats their relationships. Thus, showing theme of morality. Nick s honesty and Tom s lack of it, set the foundation for their faithfulness. Since Nick has a strong foundation and is honest, he is thus, very faithful.
Tom not showing up to his daughter s birth shows how he has no moral value of family. Nick s faithfulness and Tom s unfaithfulness, indicates their morals. Nick has high moral, since he attended Gatsby s funeral; however, or the contrary, Tom s morals are low, since he was not present at his daughter s birth, not for Daisy s sake, and no for Pammy s sake. Therefore it shows how their foundation for their faithfulness reflects the theme of morality. The fact that Nick has a conscience and Tom does not seem to have a sense of right and wrong and gives more depth of morality of these characters. Nicks sensitive conscience proves that he is a clean-hearted person; whereas tom insensitive conscience proves that he is a selfish person. The theme of morality is shown through their conscience actions. The characteristics of human beings, can say a lot about what kind of person they are. Both Nick and Tom have characteristics that are quite the opposite. In showing the differing characteristics of Nick and Tom, Fitzgerald portrays the themes of morality and reality versus illusion.